Boys Soccer – Shore Conference NJSIAA Sectional Final Preview
NJSIAA Sectional Finals
Friday, Nov. 13
Central Jersey Group III
No. 4 West Windsor-Plainsboro North (12-6-1) at No. 3 Ocean (18-4), 2 p.m.
The Spartans are seeking their first sectional title since 2000 and will have a chance to win the championship on their home turf against a Knights team that last won CJ III in 2007. Since the return of senior goalkeeper Yianni Kavarakas on Sept. 30, Ocean is 12-2 with 11 shutouts and a 38-6 goal differential, including a 6-0 aggregate during the NJSIAA Tournament. West Windsor North has two quality scorers in juniors Josh Schupak (17 goals) and Vincenzo Pugliese (12), both of whom burned Wall for a goal each in a 2-0 semifinal win. Ocean’s defense has been up to the task recently and the Spartans have plenty of firepower on their side, led by Wadneson Alexis and Marlhens Nasanes.
Central Jersey Group II
No. 9 Holmdel (11-6-5) at No. 2 Bordentown (16-2-1), 2 p.m.
For the fifth time in six years, Holmdel finds itself in a sectional final and the Hornets have taken the hard road there as a No. 9 seed. Friday will mark the fourth road game for Holmdel and so far, the road has been kind to the Hornets. Holmdel has made its move this postseason with a young lineup, but its rock remains senior goalkeeper Tyler Marchiano, who is now one shutout shy of the career shutouts record. He and his team face a Bordentown side that began the season 10-0-1 with a 32-2 goal differential and followed it up by going 3-2 with a 14-12 advantage prior to the NJSIAA Tournament, albeit against better competition. Matt Horner (25 goals) leads the Scotties scoring attack and Dino Gromitsaris is a quality goalkeeper. Holmdel defeated Bordentown, 2-1, in last year’s sectional semifinal so the two opponents are relatively familiar with one another.
South Jersey Group III
No. 5 Ocean City (11-8-2) at No. 2 Toms River South (19-3), 2 p.m.
Speaking of familiar opponents, the South Jersey Group III final is a rematch of last year’s sectional championship game, which Ocean City won, 2-0. That game was in Ocean City and this time around, Toms River South gets the game on its home turf and the Indians are playing at a higher level than they were a year ago. Toms River South is 14-1 over its last 15 games with its only loss coming at the hands of Non-Public A finalist CBA. Cameron Geerinck is one goal from breaking the single-season school record for goals and has scored at least one goal in 10 straight games. The defense has thrown up 12 shutouts this season and is rolling as the Red Raiders storm into town. Ocean City is a defensive team with balanced scoring, so Geerinck’s streak and Toms River South’s patience will be put to the test as the Indians seek their first sectional championship since winning all of Group IV in 2009.
Central Jersey Group IV
No. 7 Freehold Township (14-3-4) at No. 4 Monroe (17-4-1), 6 p.m.
Just like the Central Jersey II and South Jersey III finals, the Central Jersey Group IV championship game is a rematch of a state tournament game from a year ago. Freehold Township rolled into Monroe for last year’s sectional semifinals on an eight-game unbeaten streak and having just won the Shore Conference Tournament, but the Falcons knocked them off their cloud with a 2-0 win to reach their second sectional final in three years. Both teams are coming off big road wins in the semifinals – Freehold Township at No. 3 and defending Group III runner-up Princeton and Monroe at top-seeded New Brunswick. The Patriots feature a nearly identical team by the numbers from a year ago (38-14 differential in 21 games this season; 34-15 in 22 games in 2014) and have a similar makeup around the field. One difference has been the presence of a go-to scorer, as Chris Hoskins has racked up 18 goals this season. Senior Zach Hroch is the Falcons’ top scorer with 18 goals and he assisted one of the two goals in last year’s win over Freehold Township. Like most teams with successful histories in the tournament, both the Patriots and Falcons are adept on set pieces – both executing them and defending them. Execution on those could be the difference as Freehold Township seeks its second sectional title in six years while Monroe goes for No. 2 in four years.